Movie Review: “The Amazing Spider-Man”-Another Meh Blockbuster

Written by Spencer Sterritt July 06, 2012

In the seemingly never ending stream of big hype and small payoff blockbusters, “The Amazing Spider-Man” seemed like it could rake in the big bucks Hollywood was looking for, and supply the audience with the thrills and laughs they were looking for. While the action scenes are effective, (and Andrew Garfield makes for a very funny Peter Parker), “The Amazing Spider-Man” is hampered by some strange script decisions and a lackluster villain.

The Untold Story We’ve All Heard Before

If you’ve seen any of the other Spider-Man films, or have a basic knowledge of how Peter Parker came to be a swinging, wise-cracking crime fighter, then you already know the plot of “The Amazing Spider-Man.” Posters advertised it as the untold story, but by my figuring it’s the exact same story, just with a different girl. There are no major revamps or chances taken with this Spider-Man, beyond casting Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy instead of Mary Jane. In the end though, both women serve the same purpose, and the alteration has no impact on the story.

Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield certainly do have some of the best chemistry featured in a superhero movie, and their scenes crackle right along. They don’t necessarily save the movie, but they do provide a real emotional core for the story, at least for the first hour. The film does not dilly-dally with drawing out their romance, and as a viewer you can’t help but get caught up in their exciting relationship.

Once the film launches into its spectacle heavy, not-quite-boring-but-not-captivating finale though, Gwen Stacy becomes a girl who needs to be rescued, and everything about her is flattened out. There are also just a few too many scenes for my liking of Peter Parker being the dominant one in the relationship, ordering her around like a puppet.

A Well Constructed Webb

In terms of direction, Marc Webb certainly does a good job of mixing the action and quieter moments, especially since the movie swings wildly between the two in a given scene. He showed a flair for interesting shots in “(500) Days of Summer”, and there are certainly many frames in “The Amazing Spider-Man” that I would not have considered but are quite effective. Slow-mo and shaky cam are kept to a minimum, which allows for a nice flow for the 3D. Only a few things are thrown at the audience, and the 3D is definitely effective in the web-slinging scenes.

In Need of a Hand

On the villain front, Spider-Man faces Curt Conners, otherwise known as The Lizard. In the search for a replacement arm, and the ability to cure diseases using cross species splicing, Dr. Conners injects himself with a serum and becomes The Lizard, a hulking bi-pedal lizard. While I overall enjoyed the look of the Lizard, he did seem quite ridiculous at times, especially when he speaks. There’s just something about his face that is…wrong. Instead of a snout he has a humanoid face, ostensibly to give the audience something to recognize, but instead it ratchets down the tension because we never believe that he’s actually a feral beast that could rip apart police and Spider-Man alike.

Unfortunately “The Amazing Spider-Man” is trapped by the pace and format of the first three Spider-Man films. The villains are quite similar, in that they lead lives as scientists and monsters, the same family drama plays out (though there’s no wrestling this time), and Andrew Garfield cracks wise just as often as Tobey Maguire did. There’s nothing wrong with “The Amazing Spider-Man,” but it is certainly not the revamp that was promised.

My Rating: 7/10


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About Spencer Sterritt

Spencer Sterritt

Spencer Sterritt: former Editor-In-Chief for We Eat Films, future President of the Men With Beards Club, and hopefully candidate for ruler of the world.

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